Nothing compares to a delicious serving of beef pho for our resident food blogger Christy Ma (aka lolleroll). So, what will the pho-natic make of the newest Vietnamese hot spot near Wan Chai's trendy Star Street, where there isn't a bowl in sight?
If you can be sure of one thing, it's my love of Vietnamese food. From Bep to Viet Kitchen, to my latest favourite beef pho spot, Bun Cha, I just can't get enough. My Vietnamese ventures almost always centre around beef pho, however Le Garcon Saigon
focuses on Southern cuisine, where beef pho is not as big a deal – well, basically, they don’t serve it at all.
Located in between Pacific Place and Wan Chai's trendy Star Street, Garcon Saigon is buzzing like no other venue in the area. I’ll be honest, it was a bit too noisy for me and the prices are, admittedly, quite a bit higher than your standard, casual Viet affair, but I loved all the dishes and the service was more than excellent. I definitely recommend going for it.
Looking back, the Wagyu Beef Tartare
($158) starter turned out to be the most expensive dish we ordered. Well, that’s not bad news since the total price wasn't too high, and Wagyu beef isn't typically cheap elsewhere. The texture of the meat lived up to the price tag, as every bite was tender and relatively beefy in flavour, which was a surprise considering that rare beef usually lacks taste. Plus it was paired well with Asian crackers.
We chose a lot of meaty dishes so some sort of salad seemed necessary. The Papaya Salad
($68) was great – bursting with all sorts of flavours, from spicy to salty to sour! It was definitely worth ordering. That said, I find that many Vietnamese places serve up a great papaya salad, so this one didn't stand out in a particularly special way.
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Wagyu Beef & Chicken Skewers ($123 - $138 for three)[/caption]
Skimming through the Skewers section of the menu, I didn't really get bang for buck feelings. But when they came, there was quite a lot of meat on each stick, and they weren't stingy with the portions. We had the Wagyu Beef and Chicken Skewers
($128 - $138 for three), which were both juicy, flavourful, and super yum. The best part is that they serve them with Vietnamese rice paper rolls, lettuce, mint leaves, and coriander etc. so you can create spring rolls if you so wish. It was fun, delicious and, in the end, definitely worth it.
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Banh Xeo ($128)[/caption]
I ate Banh Xeo
($128) at the famous Quan An Ngon restaurants in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi some time back, and it was so revolutionary to my taste buds that I’ve been desperate to find a similar one in Hong Kong ever since. Although this was quite different, it’s the yummiest replica I’ve tasted so far in this city. The outer layer was extremely thin and crispy, while the stuffing was tasty and perfectly portioned. Unfortunately, they didn’t serve it with rice paper rolls – I'm not sure if that’s the tradition, but it's a super delicious combo!
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Flan and Cookie ($68)[/caption]
I felt a bit crushed when the Flan and Cookie
($68) was served as it didn’t look too inspiring. I'd been hungering for the Pandan Waffle with Mascarpone Cheese from the moment we sat down, but our waiter’s conviction in recommending the flan was so strong - he even said something like, “trust me this one time”, so I couldn’t say no.
One bite into the silky flan, topped with Vietnamese coffee and served with a chocolate cookie, and I was relieved that my regret melted away. The flan was smooth and soft, almost pudding-like. We had been warned that it would be very sweet, but I didn’t think so - for me, the sweetness was absolutely perfect. The hint of Vietnamese coffee on top added an excellent twist to the dessert, and balanced out the sweetness. It’s meant to be eaten with the “Chocolate Stable” biscuit, which is quite dry and crumbly for that reason. Although the cookie went quite well with the flan, I wasn’t a huge fan of it.
The bill came to almost $800 between two of us so, although the dinner was great and we enjoyed everything (atmosphere and service included), I did suspect it was a bit overpriced. At other Vietnamese restaurants, I usually pay $200 per person. Then again, none of the places I know would actually be appropriate for a social gathering of more than two friends in terms of the general vibe and table booking policy. Le Garcon Saigon may not become my regular spot, but good vibes, good food, and a strong desire to try the Pandan Waffle will definitely bring me back for more.
Le Garcon Saigon, 12-18 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai, (+852) 2455 2499
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The Drunken Pot
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